Seven states pass marijuana legalization measures
Three states legalized recreational marijuana, four passed medical marijuana measures and one state may soon pass legalization measures as a result of votes on Election Day.
California, Massachusetts and Nevada legalized recreational marijuana, while Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota passed medical marijuana measures on Election Day, the Washington Post reports. Maine also legalized marijuana, but opponents are requesting a recount due to a slim passing margin, according to the Washington Times.
“This represents a monumental victory for the marijuana reform movement,” Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. “With California’s leadership now, the end of marijuana prohibition nationally, and even internationally, is fast approaching.”
California, having 12 percent of the U.S. population and a large economy, represents a key convert in the legalization movement, the Post reports.
“Approving recreational marijuana in California, the sixth-largest economy in the world, and a state that often sets the trend nationwide, is the death knell of a failed policy of prohibition,” Aaron Herzberg, partner and general counsel of CalCann Holdings, told Forbes. “California is now poised to … take back its place from Colorado to become the rightful Silicon Valley of marijuana.”
Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012, Alaska legalized marijuana in 2014 and D.C. and Oregon legalized it in 2015, according to the Post and Al Jazeera America. Nevada’s legalization measure makes a large portion of the west a haven for marijuana legalization, Forbes Magazine reports. As part of the ballot measure, Nevada will impose a 15 percent excise tax on marijuana, according to CNN.
Massachusetts represents a key victory for the legalization movement, being the first east coast state to legalize recreational use, Forbes reports.
Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota join the ranks of 17 other states that have legalized medical marijuana, according to LiveScience. Fifteen other states allow limited access to medical marijuana with low concentrations of THC, the primary psychoactive compound naturally found in marijuana. Florida is the first southern state to legalize full access to medical marijuana.
An October Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans say marijuana use should be legal, marking the highest level of approval since Gallup first polled for the question in 1969, LiveScience reports.